Do you have dry or cracked skin?

With winter in full swing, many people can really begin to feel that their skin gets very dry and the constant application of lotions is the only way to stay comfortable. But dry skin may actually be caused from a diet that is too low in old fashioned saturated fats. When your skin is constantly cracking and rough, looking at your diet as part of the problem is a good place to start. In fact when Dr. Francis Pottenger was working with nutrition and healing the chronically ill with nutrient-dense foods, he found that dry skin was relieved by adding fat to the diet. He said that dry skin is not caused from soaps or weather, but from the diet not rich enough in fat.

In his book, “Pottenger’s Cats, A Study in Nutrition,” he states that “Fats are present in every living cell and are essential to life. Intracellular fat is an important constituent in tissues such as muscle, brain, pancreas, and skin. Nerves are surrounded by a myelin sheath and largely composed of fats: leukocytes, the life-protecting scavengers of the body, are also largely composed of fats. ” Later he says, “In our experience, dry skin provides an index of disturbed fat metabolism. Most patients attribute their dry skin disorders to one of the following causes: hard water, improperly neutralized soaps, detergents, various household chemicals, exposure to the sun or wind, dry weather, dust or incompatible or excessive cosmetics. Few suspect deficiencies in their fat intake. Recognizing that fatty acids have largely disappeared from our modern dietary, we have worked out a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for general rehabilitation.”

When you start to add fats like raw butter, coconut oil and lard to your daily fare, you may notice over time that your skin improves dramatically. This will be especially true when your digestion improves and you are better nourished from eating a nutrient-dense diet that is rich in vitamins A and D for nutrient absorption. Remember, Dr. Weston A. Price found in his studies of healthy cultures that traditional fats were a very important part of the diet. He found that without both vitamins A and D from natural sources and adequate traditional fats you could not absorb the nutrients from you foods no matter how good the diet.

From this information you might consider that dry skin may be a sign of malnourishment. With the constant buzz that a low-fat /high fiber diet is so healthy, is it a wonder that many people are asking “why”, when their skin is dry and they just don’t feel well on this regimen?

For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

4 thoughts on “Do you have dry or cracked skin?”

  1. Hi Kathryne and John,

    I also want to mention another reason for dry skin – autoimmune Sjogren’s disease – which I have. In spite of taking large amounts of fish oil and cooking with and eating organic coconut oil every day, my skin is very dry due to this disease. Sjogren’s is actually a quite common and goes hand in hand with many other autoimmune diseases. I was diagnosed with lupus a year ago and found that that is a disease that is commonly found co-existing with Sjogren’s disease. Anyway, my lupus is now in complete remission, but I still suffer from Sjogren’s disease. Anyway, if you come across people who are stumped as to why their skin is still dry after eating the correct diet and taking the appropriate supplements, you might want to have them look into Sjogren’s disease.
    Thank you for posting your articles on Facebook! Carolyn

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    Thanks for your comment. I did not go into autoimmune conditions in this article–however you beat me to the chase, because tomorrow I am doing another segment on this topic and will discuss allergies and leaky gut with regard to skin–and autoimmune conditions fall into this category of cascading events in one’s health that can affect the condition of the skin.

    Thanks for reading and being a part of this important discussion!
    Kathryne Pirtle

  3. Hi,

    Why didn’t you include other healthy fats besides coconut oil? (such as avocado, nuts, fatty fishes, olives, flaxseed oil, etc. Instead of butter and lard.


  4. Hi Mike,
    I focused on the traditional saturated fats like butter, coconut oil and lard because that is what is missing in so many people’s diets. Without these saturated fats–nutrient-absorption is diminished. I should have also included eating meat with the fat. (The best is from organic, sustainable sources of course.) This principle is was primary in the work of Dr. Weston Price and Dr. Francis Pottenger.

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